Netflix strikes big win in Rovi patent dispute

DetailsMichelle Clancy | 17 July 2015

On the day the subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) leader was basking in the glow of its Q2 results, Netflix cheered more good news after being cleared by a court in California of infringing on patents from Rovi.

Judge Phyllis Hamilton of the US District Court for the Northern District of California granted Netflix's motion for summary judgment on the five patents in question, which concern Rovi's core business of interactive TV and electronic programme guides. She ruled the patents were invalid on the grounds that they are "not directed to patentable subject matter", ie, they're too vague.

Netflix said in a statement, "We are gratified by the court's judgment, which confirmed that Rovi's patents are so broad and abstract as to be invalid."

Rovi has been aggressively going after patent licensing revenue, and has been embroiled in a lawsuit with Netflix since 2011.

"We are disappointed in, and strongly disagree with, the court's decision finding the five patents invalid, and plan to appeal that decision," Samir Armaly, Rovi's executive vice president of intellectual property and licensing.

Santa Clara, California-based Rovi's intellectual property portfolio has been licensed to Apple, Google and Hulu and if an appeal is unsuccessful, it's unclear what will happen to those deals.

Armaly added, "...and we remain confident that Netflix requires a similar licence."